Pressure. Pressure can be a good thing or a bad thing. Take the pressure to perform as an example. Musicians certainly feels this pressure whether it be it be performing live or in the studio. Even the hardest of vets say they still get butterflies before a big show or the making of an important record. No record may be more important than the debut. After all, you can’t make another first impression. Rivers of Nihil definitely could have been feeling some pressure recording their debut album, “The Conscious Seed of Light”, which will be released through Metal Blade Records October 15, 2013.
Rivers of Nihil are not rookies by any means. They formed in 2009 in Reading, Pennsylvania and have self-released two EPs—2010’s “Hierarchy” and 2011’s “Temporality Unbound.” But signing with Metal Blade last year and going into the studio with the one and only Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel to produce your record is a huge jump up! Having your debut be a quasi-concept album doesn’t help either.
Vocalist Jake Dieffenbach has said that “The Conscious Seed of Light” is a collection of songs based on the season of Spring, and the Earth’s sometimes not-so-good relationship with its inhabitants (us). Just take a look at the album art work done by acclaimed artist Dan Seagrave and I think you will get the idea.
The musicianship on this album is no joke. These guys have the skills to play whatever flavor metal necessary to get their point across. From the sweet riffage from Jon Kunz and Brody Uttley, cool bass noodles of Adam Biggs, and Ron Nelson tight blasts, Rivers of Nihil can bust it out.
‘Terrestria I: Thaw’ opens the album, starting the perfect soundtrack to the scene depicted on the cover. It creeps up from a desolate openness with black metal overtones to a drop tuned beatdown. This transitions into ‘Rain Eater’, a crushing tech-death tune with plenty of Decapitated and Meshuggah elements peppered throughout. Rivers of Nihil are consistently variant on this record. They can mix things up between million note riffs and airy guitar solos like on ‘Birth of the Omnisavior’ and ‘Place of Serpents’, or from high speed crush to slower groove like on ‘Soil & Seed’ and ‘Human Adaptation’. Rivers of Nihil end the album with a very Gojira-esque tune called ‘Airless’. You can practically hear the last few particles of oxygen leaving the atmosphere.
Speaking of influences, Rivers of Nihil wear theirs like a metal head’s denim vest covered in his favorite band patches. That being said, these guys are a total sum of all their parts, not a steal a riff here, copy a melody there clone band. I have been fans of these guys on Reverbnation for about a year now, and they are definitely coming into their own. “The Conscious Seed of Light” is a great step in that direction and I look forward to listening to Rivers of Nihil evolve with the seasons in the future.